> The Watersons > Songs > Let the Bulgine Run
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Let the Bulgine Run

[ Roud 810 ; Ballad Index LoF029 ; trad.]

The Watersons sang the hauling shanty Let the Bulgine Run in 1964 in an early live performance. This recording was included in 2004 on their 4 CD anthology Mighty River of Song. According to Stan Hugill's Shanties from the Seven Seas, ‘bulgine’ is American slang for a railway engine.

Ray and Archie Fisher sang Let the Bulgine Run at a folk concert at Edinburgh Usher Hall that was released in 1964 too on the Waverley LP Folk Festival.

Jolly Jack sang Clear the Track and Let the Bulgine Run in 1983 on their Fellside album Rolling Down to Old Maui.

Johnny Collins with Dave Webber and Pete Watkinson sang Eliza Lee in 1996 on their album Shanties & Songs of the Sea.

Bellowhead sang this shanty as Let Her Run in 2014 on their CD Revival. They commented in their liner notes:

Adapted from the hauling shanty Let the Bulgine Run, ‘bulgine’ being slang for ‘engine’. There are many variants of this song under many names such as Eliza Lee or Clear the Track including, bizarrely, a music hall version with Biblical verses.

Lyrics

The Watersons sing Let the Bulgine Run Bellowhead sing Let Her Run

Oh, the smartest packet ye can find,
    Ah Hey! Ah Ho! Are you most done?
Is the “Margret Evans” of the Blue Cross Line!
    So! Clear the track, let the bulgine run!

Chorus (after each verse):
Timme Hey, Rig-a-jig, and a jaunting run!
    Ah Hey! Ah Ho! Are you most done?
With Liza Lee all on my knee,
    So! Clear the track, let the bulgine run!

Oh the prettiest sight that you can see
Is Liza Lee all on my knee

Oh Liza Lee will you be mine?
I'll dress you up in silk so fine

Oh when I get home again from sea
Young Liza Lee will marry me

Oh when I get home and stay on shore
And that to sea I'll go no more

Oh the finest ship that you ever could find,
    Oh boys, are you done, are you done?
Is the old “Wild Cat” of the Swallow Tail Line!
    Clear away the track, boys, and let her run!

Oh Liza Lee if you were mine
I would dress you up in silk so fine

Chorus (after each verse):
For the sun is high and the wind blows free,
    Oh boys, are you done, are you done?
With Liza Lee all on my knee,
    Clear away the track, boys, and let her run!

Oh in Liverpool town the girls hang around
And it's there my Liza will be found

When I come home from across the sea
Liza Lee will you marry me?

Well the prettiest sight that you ever did see
Is Liz Lee all on my knee

I'll stay with you upon the shore
And it's back to see I'll go no more

Acknowledgements

Transcribed by Reinhard Zierke with the first verse and the chorus copied from the Digital Tradition.